11/22/2007, 00.00
INDIA
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Political interests behind Fr. Joy’s incarceration, arrested after student’s suicide

by Nirmala Carvalho
The warden of the Claretian hostel in Borjhar, fr. Joy Sebastian, has been held in prison without evidence since November 3rd. He is being accused of forcing a student to commit suicide, the son of a militant who died two years ago. The Church points its finger at “outside interests”.

Diphu (AsiaNews) – Claretian Priest Fr. Joy Sebastian is still in police custody in Guwahati in connection with a male tribal student who committed suicide on November 3rd at a missionary school hostel at Borjhar, Assam, despite the fact there is no evidence linking him to the case.

The local Church maintains that outside political interests are influencing the case.

 

Hazong was studying in VI class. On November 3 he met his mother and soon after fled to his aunts house, who convinced him to return to the school.  Instead of attending classes, he went straight to his hostel room and hung himself. Father Joy Sebastian , the hostel warden, was arrested and accused of abetting the boy to commit suicide.

 

"The whole case is fabricated," says a report released by the superior delegate of the Claretian Missionaries of the North East, Father Jose Anchupankil. “The boy was depressed after insurgents killed his father a two years ago”.

 

Fr Tom Mangattuthazhe, of Bishop's House,Diphu, told AsiaNews: “On 6th I had also gone to Guwahati and visited the place of the tragedy.  I also spoke to local police and authorities. The incident is blown out of proportion and the hand of vested interest is seen right from the beginning of the tragedy”.

 

The priest, who is also Secretary, United Christian Forum Diphu adds: “On 14th I went to visit the Family with few Christian friends and we had a prayer service at the residence. The family is really shocked and the situation is still unpredictable with the priest in custody. However it is evident that the boy’s mother has pressured police into not allowing bail for Fr. Joy”.

 

Robin, Hazong’s father, “had links with the Bodo militants and had many enemies it is alleged that he had criminal background and was accused of involvement in extortion, killings, grenade attack in Diphu and so on. The late Robin’s friends are in the present government- hence the political connection is quite clear.”.

 

The Claretian Provincial  “is in contact with Father who he accepts this suffering as Calvary and he is not suffering more than the Master. The Church is not against any judicial enquiry and if we were to use our political influences or any other means, Fr. Joy would be out by now, the reason why we want the law to take its course, is because we have nothing to hide, and we want the truth to be exposed”.

 

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